The Washington Commanders are about a month removed from wrapping up the 2022 season with a win over the Dallas Cowboys, and now it is time to start looking at 2023 and how the team can build off its 8-8-1 finish.
Over the next few weeks, Commanders.com will break down every position group and lay out how the Commanders could improve the group in the coming months. We'll start things off with the offensive line, which is a group that many believe is in need of the most retooling during the offseason.
On the roster
- G Trai Turner: 16 games (12 starts)
- C Nick Martin: 4 games (2 starts)
- G Wes Martin: 6 games
- G Andrew Norwell: 16 games (16 starts)
- C/G Wes Schweitzer: 7 games (6 starts)
- T Charles Leno: 17 games (17 starts)
- G Chris Paul: 1 game (1 start)
- T Sam Cosmi: 14 games (6 starts)
- T Cornelius Lucas: 16 games (12 starts)
- G/T Saahdiq Charles: 13 games (3 starts)
- C Chase Roullier: 2 games (2 starts)
- C Tyler Larsen: 9 games (8 starts)
-- Injuries played a part in the group's problems: Sustaining injuries is not a new problem for the Commanders' offensive line. The group dealt with the same issues during the 2021 season, but the depth was able to step up and keep things afloat for much of the year.
It was much of the same in 2022 with Leno being the only offensive lineman to play in all 17 games this season. This time, however, things were more inconsistent. Pro Football Focus ranked the Commanders among the bottom third of the league in pass blocking (26th) and run blocking (24th) and credited 33 of the team's 48 sacks allowed.
The center position was hit particularly hard by this issue. Once Roullier went down with his second season-ending injury in as many years, a combination of players that included Martin and Larsen manned the role with varying degrees of success. During the team's end of season press conference, general manager Martin Mayhew admitted that addressing the group as a whole is a priority.
"Obviously there's a need, I think, to continue to add young people to that group to get younger there. We've had a number of injuries over the last couple of years. We have got to evaluate that process and why that happens."
The 2022 season was full of memorable moments for the Washington Commanders. Relive the best game action from the team.
-- Sam Cosmi playing guard: Cosmi was in a unique situation in 2022. A hand injury kept him sidelined three games, leaving Lucas to start in his place. The Commanders wanted to use both players in some fashion once Cosmi returned, so the two rotated at tackle until Turner sustained an injury that opened up a spot at guard.
The Week 13 game against the New York Giants was the first that Cosmi played guard in his professional career, but the former second-round pick performed well against the likes of Dexter Lawrence and got his second-highest grade from PFF (77.6) and only allowed one pressure.
It is unclear as to whether Cosmi will stay at guard or tackle at this point. He was drafted out of Texas under the impression that he would be a tackle, though, and he had a strong rookie season at the position full time. Either way, Washington will find a way to get him on the field.
-- There were promising signs from Chris Paul: Ron Rivera raved about Paul's progress throughout the 2022 season, but the seventh-round pick did not get the chance to show off that talent until Week 18, when the Commanders were eliminated from playoff contention.
Once he got on the field, it was clear to see what Rivera was so happy about. There were some mistakes, as people should expect from a rookie, but for the most part, Paul moved well and held his own against the Cowboys' defensive line. He played in all 66 of the Commanders' offensive snaps and allowed one pressure.
Unlike Cosmi, there are no questions about what Paul is going to be in his second season. He will stay at guard and compete to at least be more active than he was as a rookie. However, based on his performance and Rivera's praise, he could be a key contributor in 2023.
Mayhew said the team wants to get younger at offensive line, but there are a few veteran options that could catch Washington's interest once the league year opens in March. Check out who could be available, HERE.
This year's draft class of offensive linemen has impressed analysts, and if Washington decides to address the offensive line with the No. 16 overall pick, there could be a quality player available. Check out CBS Sports' position rankings, HERE.